PICKET fences of the same character as those seen in combination with brick walls, make good enclosures for gardens. The use of pickets or palings dates at least from the sixteenth century, when Englishmen utilized them if brick and stone, their favourite materials, could not be procured. They painted them green, but the Colonial fences from which those of to-day are patterned were invariably white. The later Colonial architecture is a modification of the Georgian, which has left its impress on many parts of the Eastern States. It was adapted by the colonists to the climate and their pocketbooks, and thus became softened and toned down to a pleasing extent. A white picket fence with a few good vines trained over some of the posts and along the pickets, makes a very light and graceful enclosure that is an addition to, the setting of a shingled house, or one of stucco or brick.
The posts of such a fence should be made of Chestnut or Locust (the latter is the more durable), and it is better to tar the ends that are put in the ground. The cap is built on, and should be surmounted by a finial of some sort to set it off, an urn or a ball or an acorn. The urn is Georgian, the acorn is found on fences in England of a much earlier period, and is appropriate in the neighbourhood of Oak trees. Such finials can be turned at any mill, but as soon as they leave the lathe they should be set in linseed oil and left until thoroughly saturated; then given a heavy coat of white lead, for otherwise they will check and split off when exposed to the weather.
The arched gateway on page 189 is a simple one, but of ancient origin. In the "Romance of the Rose" there is an illumination of a garden that dates from the fifteenth century, and in it there is a gateway dividing a fence that is practically identical in form and appearance to this one. The garden was surrounded by an embattlemented wall.
Box Walk; Mt. Vernon.
The gateway in the picture is reproduced from one that stands in an old garden at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On the next page a section of fence is pictured. Such a fence is not expensive to build and the effect is good. Vines should be trained on the posts, and used with discretion on the pickets. Light vines such as Clematis, Rose, Honeysuckle or Virginia Creeper are the best kinds. On page 193 are some good posts that may be used with either fences or hedges.
Some Posts for Fences or Hedges.
Box, Privet, Hemlock, Arbor Vitae, Holly and Spruce are suitable for hedges. A hedge is really the best thing with which to enclose a garden, or the path leading to one, if it is situated on the lawn. A hedge needs some setting off, however, and brick piers or painted wooden posts (page 193) should be used for the four corners and entrance; or for the latter a wooden arch as seen on the previous page. A good combination of hedge and arch is shown opposite, to use for a path when a partly arboured pathway is desired. The arches may be covered with either Honeysuckles or Roses; the former are really better for they carry their blossoms nearly all Summer and are almost evergreen; in fact by the time they lose their leaves most people have lost their interest in outdoors for the season. If you use Roses plant Wichurianas, or their hybrids, for their foliage, though of delicate construction, is a rich dark green that holds well, and is not much pestered by insects. The Ramblers are really worthless for any position that will be prominent the whole season. Privet can be used for the hedge part, although Box would be better; or Roses or Honeysuckles may be festooned from post to post instead of the hedge; or both used and the hedge kept low.
If the posts are used without a hedge they should have bases built on like the caps.
A Picket Fence.
Arches and Hedges.